Warmer temperatures tend to bring an increase in door-to-door sales visits. While there are surely lots of honest people in the door-to-door sales profession, we only hear about the dishonest ones who are giving the industry a bad name. We want you to be able to spot them and help make sure you are never misled or pressured to sign a contract.
There are a few telltale signs and questions you can use to your advantage when someone knocks on your door. Also, as a customer, the law is in your favour and you are usually protected by a mandatory cooling off period.
Debunking the myths of the spontaneous door-knocking water heater company rep.
The next time someone shows up at your door there are a few different things you should consider, as well as things you should ask in order to confirm that they actually represent the company or brand name they are using to assert themselves as an “expert.”
- Drop-in water heater inspections don’t exist. To begin with, the idea is incredibly fiscally irresponsible and an established company won’t waste payroll to send “inspectors” or technicians to an unconfirmed appointment, let alone an unscheduled one. The odds of it being a waste of time, and therefore money, are too high. If someone arrives unannounced to inspect your water heater, it isn’t to tell you that your water heater is working just fine.
- Reputable companies use photo ID. For example, at Reliance all of our staff have photo ID right from their first day of work and are required to carry it at all times. Even support staff have it, and you will never even meet them face to face. If the person at your door doesn’t have photo ID then they do not work for Reliance. The same rule applies to our competitors, but usually not to the scam artists.
- Any reputable salesperson knows that a significant percentage of people will never buy on the spot. It’s a well-researched statistic. As a result, a reputable salesperson should always carry brochures showcasing their products to leave behind after a sales call. If you suspect someone has the intention of selling you something, ask to see the features, advantages and benefits of their product in a printed brochure that they can leave behind. If they can’t provide you with one, don’t even consider signing that contract. The only reason to have a contract and not the product brochures may be to mislead you into a poor purchase decision.
- The aforementioned purchase statistic also ensures that a “deal” is never only good for that visit. If you have been through the previous three steps and are comfortable with the offer on the table, there isn’t any reason not to go for it.
However, if you need time to consider it or discuss it with a family member, the offer will be there tomorrow.
Your rights as a consumer are protected by law.
In Ontario you are protected by the Consumer Protection Act, which was introduced in 2002 to protect consumers from misrepresentation by aggressive salespeople. Because of the Consumer Protection Act, you have the following rights as a consumer:
- You are entitled to a 10-day cooling off period to change your mind and opt out of any contract you sign for your water heater rental. The 10 days begin when you receive your copy of the written contract. The only exclusion is if you request the water heater be installed sooner than 10 days.
- All charges within the contract must be exactly as they are stated. For example, a company may not add a surcharge that is not noted unless it is a tax.
- You have a full year to cancel the contract if it doesn’t do the following:
- disclose all key information you need to know (including costs)
- inform you about your contractual rights.